Learning to drive can be daunting at first, but most are eager to do it not for its own sake, but because of what the ability to drive allows us to do otherwise. We can get a job, or go to an event, and not have to worry about someone else being available to take us there. For the same reason, learning to read the Bible as it was meant to be read, although it may seem difficult at first, empowers us to take our own biblical journeys, to enjoy our own discoveries. And like driving, the process can become second nature.
- Summary of Scenes
- The Context
- Matthew’s Calling
- “Laughing Mourners”
So let’s take a look at what we accomplished so far. Last time we broke Matthew’s account of the bleeding woman down into scenes, and identified the basic components. The next step is to transfer that information into a single chart/diagram, like this:
Summary of Scenes
|Scene # 1 Setting||Scene # 2 Setting||Scene # 3 Setting||Scene # 4 Setting|
|Capernaum||Capernaum||Capernaum||synagogue leader’s home in Capernaum.|
crowd (some playing pipes),
synagogue leader’s daughter
|daughter of synagogue leader has died; father wants Jesus to raise her||woman with chronic affliction believes touching Jesus garment will heal her||Not obvious. That’s why it might be better to combine the previous scene with this one as single scene.||Jesus tells crowd girl is not dead but asleep. Crowd laughs, he banishes them.|
|Woman is healed||In girl’s room, he takes her by and and she rises, alive News spreads through “all that region.”|
|Questions/Pts of Interest||Questions/Pts of Interest||Questions/Pts of Interest||Questions/Pts of Interest|
|“synagogue leader” has great faith in and respect for Jesus||Jesus does not say he healed the woman, but that her faith had!||Why was a crowd there? What was the significance of some “playing pipes?”|
The brevity of this entire account makes it challenging to interpret. Whenever we come on a passage of Scripture which puzzles us, or provides a difficult challenge and interpretation, we will find that investigating the larger context may help bring the section in question into focus. When we do that, we discover that this chapter begins with Jesus coming to his “hometown,” which further investigation reveals to be Capernaum. In fact, nearly entire chapter consists of miracles and healings in and around Capernaum, of which raising the young girl and healing the bleeding woman are only two. Intermingled with these healings we find the call of Matthew, and at the end of the chapter Jesus declares that the harvest is ready but there are few workers.
It’s possible that, since this is Matthew’s own account, here we see how Matthew experienced his own calling; that is to say, he found himself in the midst of a a stream of remarkable events. Then, at the beginning of the next chapter, Jesus sends out the 12, two by two. So Matthew would barely have become one of the 12, before they were sent out to share the gospel with others. That would certainly seem like a whirlwind of activity to one caught up in it. In the space of a few hours, Matthew is called away from his life’s work to a new location, he witnesses multiple healings, and one resurrection from the dead.
Usually, Mark’s gospel demonstrates breathtaking velocity, while Matthew pauses to listen the whole sermons. But this chapter may represent his perception of his first hours as Jesus disciple.
We will meet the “laughing mourners” in all three accounts so I will reserve comments about them until later, except to say that it was customary for wealthy Jews to hire people to make a display of mourning. They were paid to exhibit grief, but as we see here, it was probably not genuine. Part of the display might include the “playing of pipes” mentioned in Matthew’s account.
We will examine Mark’s account next.